Biblical Beasts & Boogeymen (pt 1: 1st Beast – Abezethibou)

 Hi, and welcome to my series on mythological beasts.

I originally started to do this as a fun break from heavier subjects such as the “Republican War on Women” and the machinations of the NRA.

Shortly after, I started to work on my Mormonite posts, and this series just kind of sat there with some pics and a few commentaries and notes in a rather jumbled form.

Strangest thing though, despite its skeletal condition, it kept getting “hits”. Lotsa hits! When I put the Mormonite series on temporary hiatus, I took a look at which posts were getting the most action. B,B&B came in at #5 out of 48.

In the spirit of “give the people what they want”, I decided to start fleshing out the post(s). It’s going to take a while to complete, since the number of critters to be covered runs in the triple digits. Also, I have other series that need wrapping up and election season is coming. In the meantime, remember, patience is one of the nobler virtues.

Grouchy

Forward (aka stuff you probably should know before perusing)

The title says “Biblical Beasts & Boogeymen”, (mainly because I love alliteration). However, in the spirit of interfaith ecumenism, this series will also cover Jewish and Christian mythological critters as well as those of adjacent mythologies, such as Gnostic.

I’ll delve into “The Testament of Solomon” {PDF} and the Clavicula Salomonis Regis [PDF} explore some Aleister Crowley ruminations and take a close look at quite a few cross-mythology morphings, such as Paimon>Abalam or El>Elohim>YHWH>GOD.

All bible quotes will be from the King James version.This has been the most used and respected English version since James the Sixth and the First commissioned it in 1604. (Same guy, two kingdoms, England and Scotland.)

There are a few bases to be touched before we begin with the biblical beastory. First off, I know some DEFENDERS OF THE “TRUTH” are going to yell that these beasts and demons are allegories. Originally???  Maybe…….but, I don’t think so!

People at this time, and in way too many cases, right up till now, actually believed they existed. After all, these people believed an invisible magic man in the clouds created the entire universe in one day, although it took him six to set up the earth. In other words, these people,then and now, would believe anything, no matter how damn weird. Besides, it’s in the bible and the bible is “GOD‘s WORD!!!” Although, Big Daddy has been known to lie on occasion.

For easy reference, I’m going to list the mythological critters in alphabetic order, along with the usual snark-laden commentary.  If a critter has more than one name, the alternate names will be links to the main article.

So, with the Forward behind us, lets get started.

DEMON HIERARCHY

As a guide to the inner relationships of the major demons, I’m going to reference Sebastien Michaelis 1613 book, “Histoire admirable de la possession d’une penitente“, since the information was related to Sebastien by Baal-berith, the chief secretary of Hell. (Hell, if anyone knows, it should be him.)

1st Hierarchy

Seraphin, Cherubim & Thrones

  • Beelzebub: Lucifer’s #2; Second angel kicked out of Heaven. Bailiwick: pride; Arch-enemy is St. Francis
  • Leviathan: Lucifer’s #3; Third angel kicked out of Heaven. Bailiwick: heresy; Arch-enemy is St. Peter
  • Asmodeus: Seraphin Prince; Bailiwick: wantoness; Arch-enemy is St. John the Baptist
  • Baal-berith: Cherrubim Prince; Bailiwicks: blasphemy and homicide; Arch-enemy is St. Barnabas
  • Pesado: Prince of Abaddon (“place of destruction”); Bailiwick: chaos;  Arch-enemy not listed
  • Astaqroth: Prince of Thrones; Bailiwick: laziness; Arch-enemy is St. Bartholomew
  • Verrine: Prince of Thrones; Bailiwick: impatience; Arch-enemy is St. Dominic
  • Gressil: Prince of Thrones; Bailiwick: impurity; Arch-enemy is St. Barnard
  • Sonneillon: Prince of Thrones; Bailiwick: hate; Arch-enemy is St. Stephen

2nd Hierarchy

Powers, Dominions & Virtues

  • Carreau: Prince of Powers; Bailiwick: hardness of heart; Arch-enemies are St. Vincent and St. Vincent Ferrer
  • Carnivale: Prince of Powers; Bailiwick: obscenity; Arch-enemy is John the Evangelist
  • Oeillet: Prince of Dominions; Bailiwick: breaking poverty vows; Arch-enemy is St. Martin
  • Rosier: Oeillet’s #2 in Dominions; Bailiwick: sexual impurity; Arch-enemy is St. Basil
  • Belias: Prince of Virtues; Bailiwick: arrogance and vanity; Arch-enemy is St. Francis de Paul

3rd Hierarchy

Principalities, Archangels & Angels

  • Olivier: Prince of Archangels; Bailiwick: mercilessness toward the poor; Arch-enemy is St. Lawrence
  • Luvart: Prince of Angels; Bailiwick: ???; Arch-enemy is not listed.
  • Verrier: Prince of Principalities; bailiwick: disobedience; Arch-enemy is St. Barnard.

ANGEL HIERARCHY

Angelic hierarchy, which relates to demon hierarchy, comes courtesy of Dionysius the Areogapite‘s 5th century book, De Coelesti Hierarchia {PDF}. That’s the earliest source I could find, other than vague biblical hints such as Colossians 1:16.

1st Sphere (Big Daddy’s immediate staff)

  • Seraphim: This is the highest order of angels. Their primary duty is to feed Big Daddy’s ego by continuously shouting “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” Oh, and they’re also in charge of Big D’s throne. (Gotta keep that sucker bright and shiny!) According to Isaiah 6:2, they have six wings, two for the face, two for the feet and two to fly with.

    Seraphim

    Seraphim

  • Cherubim: 2nd highest order of angels. Their primary duty is to guard Big D’s throne. They were also in charge of guarding The Tree of Life back in the Garden of Eden. (They kinda screwed up on that job.) When most people think of Cherubim or Cherubs they’re actually thinking of Putti. (cute, cuddly, chubby toddlers)
    Putti

    Putti

    Cherubim are not cute cuddly little toddlers! Cherubim have four wings, which btw are covered with eyes. And, according to Ezekiel, they have four faces: man, lion, eagle and cherub.

    Cherubim

    Cherubim

  • Thrones: The 3rd order of angels. No, they’re not huge overstuffed jeweled chairs. Thrones comes from the Greek “thronos”, meaning Elder. If you thought the preceding angels look a little weird, the Thrones blow them away. The bible describes Thrones as wheels within wheels and covered with eyes.

    Ophanim

    Throne

2nd Sphere (mid-level bureaucrats)

  • Dominions: Dominions are what most of us think of when we think of angels. They look like gorgeous human beings with a pair of wings. Their job is to regulate the lower orders of angels. They also preside over nations. (If so, they’re doing a piss poor job.)

    Dominion

    Dominion

  • Virtues: Now we come to the hardest working angels in the universe. Their primary responsibility is supervising the movements of heavenly bodies. With over 200,000,000,000 galaxies with an average of 100,000,000,000 stars apiece along with all the planets, asteroids, comets, etc, and all in orbits, they keep rather busy. (I tried to find a pic, but I guess they were too busy to pose.)
  • Powers: These are warrior angels. They are also responsible for the distribution of powers to humans. (And, apparently open to bribery.) They are also the official historians and the bearers of conscience. (A bit of a conflict there.)

    Power angel

    Power angel

3rd Sphere (muscle and messengers)

  • Principalities: The Principalities have several functions. They bequeath blessings on the material world (mostly to the 1%). They’re the Dominion’s errand boys/girls(?)  Observation and questions: Despite all the paintings, there are no female angels in the bible. Do they stay home and make sure dinner is on the table? Or, do they even exist? Are angels genderless? Did “Dogma” get it right? (Btw, loved the casting of Carlin as the Cardinal, and “Buddy Jesus” still cracks me up.) The Principalities are also the “enlisted men” to the Powers “officers”. More observations and questions: The warrior angels seem awfully low tech. I mean come on, swords, even flaming swords, wouldn’t stand up to an Abrams tank. (The only way they could defeat a modern military unit is if the unit laughed itself to death.) Plus, since they stay out of our wars, their only obvious opponents are Satan’s gang. Which brings us to a conundrum. Le’ me ‘splain! According to the bible, we are all immortal. Oh sure, we may die, but that’s not the end of it. After the dirt bath there’s “Judgement Day”, followed by an eternity in Heaven or Hell. So, even if we die, we are not really dead. In other words, we die a physical but not a spiritual death. Ergo, we are immortal. Angels are already in Heaven, and I doubt Big Daddy would design disposable warriors, therefore, spiritually at least, they are immortal. He would probably also give them Wolverine’s recuperative powers. The same, of course would hold true for the “fallen angels” on the other side. So, my long-winded set-up evolves to this question: Since neither side can destroy the other (or they would have long ago) what’s with all the “warriors” other than macho chest thumping?

    Principality

    Principality

  • Archangels: Archangels are listed as a class, but the bible (New Testament actually) only mentions one: Michael. Seventh Day Adventists believe that Michael is J.C.’s alter ego, but 7th Dayers believe a lot of strange things. (See “The Religious Wrong (pt. 3)” and part 4, whenever I get it written.) Some people claim Gabriel is an archangel, but the bible never refers to him as one. Also, there are some other candidates such as Uriel and Raphael listed in apocryphons and deuterocanonical books. The deuterocanonical Book of Tobit says there are seven archangels, however, any mention of archangel in the bible itself is always singular, never plural. The term comes from a pair of Greek words archō (1st in rank) & angělǒs (envoy). Of course, Michael’s also a battling angel. In Nightmare John’s “Revelation” fever dream, Michael leads an army of angels against the “dragon” (Lucifer or the real thing?) and his troops. Revelation 12:7

    Michael & "Dragon"

    Michael & “Dragon”

  • Angels: Finally, we get to the “just plain angels”. As noted above, the word “angel” comes from the Greek “angělǒs” and they mainly operate as messengers, albeit with a number of other functions. Sort of a holy Western Union. (How’s that for an extremely dated reference?) They also comprise everybody’s favorite variety of angel, the “Guardian Angel”. I’ve heard preachers say that everybody has one, so there must be billions.
    Guardian Angel circa 1980

    Guardian Angel circa 1980

    I think my personal G.A. slithered off and got drunk years ago. Haven’t seen him for decades.

Well, that takes care of the “ranks”, it’s time to start on the “files”:

THE MENAGERIE

The “1st Beast”, along with the “2nd Beast” and a few other upcoming hallucinogenic monsters only make a solo appearance in somebody’s fever dream that we know as Revelation.

“True believers” claim that the somebody is John the Apostle. That’s kind of doubtful. For one thing, Revelation, or as it was originally titled, Apokalypsis, was written in Koine Greek. John the Apostle was Hebrew and most likely illiterate. Lake fishermen sons didn’t normally learn to read and write in foreign languages back then.

Also, according to most scholars, Apokalypsis was written around 95 C.E. That would have made John 89 years old at its writing. Tradition, which is wrong a hell of a lot of the time, says John died in Ephesus between 89 C.E., which was before Apokalypsis was written, and 100 C.E. Men’s life expectancy at the time was 40-45. Of course, Mormons think he’s still alive since J.C. made him immortal back in John 21:21-23

Tell you what. To solve any confusion with the other “Johns” we’ll come across, I’ll refer to this one as “Nightmare John”. Somehow, that seems appropriate.

1st Beast of Revelation (The Beast from the Sea) Biblical Demonologythe-first-beast-of-revelation-2

Revelation 13:1-2

1 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.

2 And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.

Some people say the 1st Beast represents Rome; others the Church of Rome (Catholics) and still others say communists. Some even say that it represents the Antichrist. In other words, the beast can represent whatever, or whoever is the “boogeyman” flavor of the moment. Btw, it can’t be the Antichrist because according to 1 John 2:18, 4:3 & 2 John 1:7 there is more than one, and some of them were already here. (Sorry, Rapture fans.)

Silly question #8403645: If Big D was trying to say something, why didn’t he just say it? If it was the Romans, why didn’t he say it was the Romans? Good communication is based on clarity, not a description of a 7-headed, 10-horned cross between a Panthera pardus (leopard) and a Phycodurus eques (leafy sea dragon)?

Yet another area in which Big Daddy has exposed his total incompetence.

Sea Dragon (A bit on the leafy side.)

Sea Dragon (A bit on the leafy side.)


2nd Beast of Revelation (The Beast from the Earth) Biblical Demonology

Second BeastRevelation 13:11

11 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.

Spake as a dragon???? I’m curious as to how Nightmare John (or whatever his name was) knew how a dragon spake. Did he had prior conversations with them? Or has he had these fever dreams from eating too much moldy bread before?

Other than his vocal qualities and resemblance to a horny lamb, there’s not much known about Beast #2. However, that doesn’t curb the speculation. There are those (mostly American right-wing bible thumpers) that claim it represents the USA. (If the horny lamb was a grasping eagle, it would be a better fit.) Of course, the Vatican has it’s supporters as well. Another interpretation homes in on the horns. It seems they represent two demons named Moses and Elijah. (Sounds like Nightmare John is not the only one hitting the moldy bread.)

200,000,000 Horsemen Biblical DemonologyThe-200-Million-Horsemen1Revelation 9:16-19

16  And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them.

17 And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone.

18  By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths.

19 For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt. 

Archangel candidate Gabriel blows his horn in Revelation 9:13, freeing 4 evil angels imprisoned in the Euphrates River. (I guess angels don’t need to breath. But then, why do they have noses?) The angels are pissed and ready to kill off 1/3 of the world’s population. To do that they’ll use 200 Million horsemen.

Since this is a “fever dream”, the horsemen aren’t actually riding horses. Well, not real horses anyway. These horses have lion heads and serpent tails. The lion heads spew the usual fire, smoke and brimstone (sulfur).  Coincidentally, the “horsemen’s” breast plates are made of two of these (fire and sulfur) along with jacinth. I’m not sure if the jacinth is red transparent zircon or the reddish blue hyacinth of that name, although it’s probably the zircon. The “horses’ tails evidently have heads of their own. Revelation doesn’t say if these heads spewed hot stuff, just that “with them they do hurt”.

So, who are the horsemen? If they use local talent, they’ll have to teach a hell of a lot of Muslims how to ride. On the other hand, some have claimed Muslims are the victims, Of course, the sheer number of horsemen has fueled speculation that they are Chinese. However, remember their breastplates are partially made from fire, so they are either very well insulated or the horsemen aren’t men (at least not the human variety).

No official word on the 4 angels rank, but from the description, it sounds like they’re Dark Side Power Angels.

With that, we’ll leave Nightmare John for a bit, but we’ll be back!

Next we’re going to check into some Jewish demonology, courtesy of “Clavicula Salomonis Regis”. (“The Lesser Key of Solomon the King” orLemegeton”) Despite the title, this was not written by “Saw the kid in half” Soly of biblical folklore. The grimoire (spell book)  was compiled in the mid 1600’s from earlier (2-300 years) material. It’s devided into 5 books, the Ars Goetia, the Ars Theurgia-Goetia, the Ars Paulina, the Ars Almadel and the Ars Notoria.

There are 72 demons listed In the Ars Goetia. (Ars = art, craft, skill or power; Goetia = invocation of angels or demons)

(click to enlarge)

(click to enlarge)

By the time we finish we will have met all or most of all of them, including our next.

Aamon (Amon) Jewish DemonologyAamonAmon SigilThe 7th spirit is Amon. He is a Marquis great in power and most strong, he first appereth like a wolf with a serpents taile, vomiting out of his mouth fleames of fire, but at ye command of ye magician he putteth on ye shape of a man with dogs teeth beset in a head like a raven, or in a ravens head, hee telleth [of] all thins past and to come, and procureth love, and reconcileth controversies between freinds and foes, and governeth 40 legions of spirits, his seal is thus, wch is to be wone as afforesaid.” The Ars Goetia: The Lesser Key of Solomon the King

Like most demons, Aamon is an amalgamation of animal parts: raven or owl’s head, depending on the source; wolf’s (or lion’s) upper body and legs; snake’s (or maybe worm’s) tail.

He knows the past and can see the future.

Amun

Amun

Aamon is one of those morphing demons. In his current incarnation, he’s a Marquis of Hell, and assistant to Astaroth. He commands 40 (count ’em, forty) infernal legions. No word on how many constitute a legion, but it’s probably a bunch.

Previously he was the Egyptian god of the wind named Amun. He later became connected with Ra, the solar god and took over responsibility for fertility. In this incarnation he was known as Amun-Ra. In the 7th century B.C.E.,the Tanakh (Hebrew bible) book of Nevi’im refered to him as נא אמון (No Amown).

Although the Hebrews (according to the “Lesser Key of Solomon“) demoted him from god to mere marquis, he did better with the Romans (Zeus Ammon) and with the Greeks, who kept him as a god. The Greeks took advantage of his precient powers and gave him an oracle.

Btw, Amun is the source of the words ammonia, ammonite and cornu ammonis.

 

Abbadon (Apollyon, if you are Greek) Biblical Demonology

Abbaddon

Abbaddon

Revelation 9:11

11 And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.

In the Old Testament as well as the original Masoretic text of the Hebrew scriptures, Abaddon is a place of destruction, usually considered to be a bottomless pit and part of Hell. (Silly question time again. If the pit is bottomless, where do the put the damned? Stick them on the pit walls?)

By the New Testament, Abaddon had morphed into “…the angel of the abyss” and king of an army of insects. (Locusts resembling horses with wings, crowned human faces with women’s hair, lions’ teeth and the tail of a scorpion, to be exact.)

He’s comin’ to get you on Judgement Day and take your soul to the Valley of Josaphat. The VoJ, according to Jews, Christians and Muslims, is the site of the “Last Judgment”. (Buddhists and Hindus have a different take on the matter.) The word “Josaphat”, besides being the name of a King of Judah, means “YHWH judges”

There’s speculation that the valley could be on the site of King Josaphat’s victory over the Ammonites, Edomites and Moabites in êmêq Berâkâh, (Valley of Blessing) about 11 miles out from Jerusalem.

In the 4th century C.E., Eusebius of Caesarea and St. Jerome decided it was situated at Jersalem’s necropolis in Cedron, conveniently located between the city walls and the Mount of Olives.

Others believe it relates to a place not on any GPS.

Or, the whole thing could just be a bunch of BULL SHIT.

Btw, if Apollyon sounds rather familiar, you may be one of the few who have really actually read John Bunyan’s “The Pilgrim’s Progress”.Christianandapollyon

A couple of critters ago, we met Aamon, one of the stars of “The Lesser Key of Solomon the King“. Next, I’d like to introduce something from another book Soly didn’t write: “The Testament of Solomon“. The book purports to be a first-hand accounting of Solomon’s temple construction. But, unless Soly lived over 1000 years, that’s a lie. The book seems to have been written sometime between the 1st and 5th centuries C.E.

At one point in the book, Soly is given a magic ring by Big Daddy’s #1 (and only?) Archangel, Michael. The magic ring enables Soly to call up demons if he happens to want to chat with one. Our next subject was one of those demons.

Abezethibou Jewish Demonology

Abezethibou

Abezethibou

Then I interrogated the other spirit, the one who came up out of the sea with the pillar. “Who are you, what are you called and what is your activity? For I have heard many things about you.” But the demon said “I, King Solomon, am called Abezethibou; and once I sat in the first heaven whose name is Amelouth. Therefore, I am a hostile, winged demon with one wing, plotting against every wind under the heavens. I was present at the time when Moses appeared before Pharaoh, king of Egypt, hardening his heart. I am the one whom Jannes and Jambres, those who opposed Moses in Egypt, called to their aid. I am the adversary of Moses in (performing) wonders and signs.” Testament of Solomon 125

Abezethibou didn’t always look like a one-winged red devil. Abezethibou used to be an angel, all bright and shiny with two white wings (a Dominion?) living in the 1st heaven, a place called Amelouth. The only mention of a “1st heaven” or “Amelouth”, that I could find, was this passage in the “Testament”. I’m sure there’s a source for it somewhere, or NOT!

Unfortunately, Abezethibou was good buds with Beelzebub (aka Lucifer, aka Satan, aka Mephistopheles, aka Old Nick, aka Scratch, aka The Devil, etc). When Beelzebub got kicked out of Amelouth, Abezethibou decided to go with him. However, some of Abezethibou’s other buds, didn’t want him to leave and grabbed his wing to pull him back. The other angels were stronger than the wing and it broke off, leaving Abezethibou a bit lopsided.

Since he was now a “fallen angel”, he decided that white wings (or “wing” in his case) were passe, so he opted for red.

After splitting Amelouth, Abezethibou hung around Egypt. In fact he was still there when Moses showed up.

Remember the part in Exodus when Big D hardened old Pharaoh’s heart? And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had spoken unto Moses. Exodus 9:12

Well, according to Abezethibou, that was his doing. (Which makes a lot more sense if you think about it.) It was he that helped Pharaoh’s court magicians (Jannes & Jambres) in their “My Magic’s Better Than Your Magic” face-off With Moe. Not only that, it was Abezethibou whispering in Pharaoh’s ear that got him to chase Moe and the Hebrews into the Red Sea. BIG MISTAKE! When Pharaoh and his legions were drowned, Abezethibou found himself imprisoned in the Red Sea.

Speaking of Moe, that reminds me of a question I’ve always had. How come the Egyptians, who were among the best record keepers in the ancient world, never mention Moses, the plagues or all those Hebrew slaves escaping over a temporarily dry Red Sea?

Seems to me the events would have caused enough commotion to at least be mentioned. You know, like the death of the Pharaoh and his legions.

And, what is it with demons and water prisons? Abezethibou got trapped in the Red Sea and the four evil angels (demons) of “200,000,000 Horsemen” fame are stuck in the Euphrates.

As to Abezethibou’s current whereabouts, there are two hypotheses. One that after his chat, Solomon made Abezethibou and Ephippas (a wind demon) hold up the two ends of the “Fire-Stream”. (We call it the “Milky-Way”.) The other is that he’s back down on the bottom of the Red Sea, but he’ll be released in time to celebrate the “Last Days”.

And, with Abezethibou, we bid a fond farewell to this post. (It’s running long, folks.)

Join me next time when we meet the Gnostic version of “Big Daddy”. He doesn’t look much like the Judeo-Christian version (cock-headed and snake legged), but at least they didn’t claim we were created in his image. (Actually, Big D was created in ours, but that’s a story for a later post.) We’ll also meet Lilith in her original form and some other rather “interesting” critters.

In the meantime, if you go swimming in the Euphrates, try not to disturb the “evil angels”.

Grouchy

 p.s.: If my ramblings don’t revolt you, I’ve got a FaceBook page (“Grouchy’s Grumbles”) you might enjoy. Better yet, you might “like” it. It’s free (and worth every cent) and almost completely painless (other than the usual bad jokes).

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